This Pumpkin Roll Recipe will surely become a favorite on your holiday table.
By Sarah Sinning
A dozen big, soft, buttery rolls bake together into a snug crown fit for the center of a holiday table. Pumpkin lends its hue, plus sweetness and moisture, to the crumb, which is redolent with the squash’s favorite spices. The lengthy rise time is a trademark for the rich brioche family of bread, but the investment guarantees a very special addition to the menu. You’ll have to decide whether to unveil the rolls at the dinner table or at breakfast, warmed, spread with butter, and drizzled with maple syrup. Yields 1 dozen.
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup pumpkin puree at room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 large eggs at room temperature, plus
1 large egg for egg wash
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes, at room temperature, plus 1 or 2 teaspoons for the pan
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and yeast. Add the pumpkin, buttermilk and maple syrup, and mix on medium-low speed (2 on a KitchenAid mixer) until a lumpy, floury mixture begins to form. Stop the machine and scrape the flour that builds up to the sides into the damp mix below it. Start the mixer again at the same speed and mix for about a minute.
Add the eggs, 1 egg at a time, and mix at medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) after each addition. Continue mixing for about 3 minutes, until the eggs are completely incorporated, making the dough and the sides of the bowl less visibly wet than when the eggs were first added.
With the mixer running on medium-high (setting 5), add the butter cubes 2 or 3 at a time, pausing to let them blend into the dough until barely visible before adding more. It will take about 5 minutes to work in all the butter. Don’t rush it.
Now let the mixer knead the dough on medium-high speed for a full 10 minutes. The dough will be very tacky at first, sticking to the walls and bottom of the bowl as it slaps against it for the first 7 or 8 minutes. Toward the end of kneading, the bottom and sides of the bowl will be mostly clear of the dough, which will work up into a mass stretched between the hook and the bottom of the bowl.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Scrape the dough into the pan, pulling it down off the hook and using a big rubber spatula to release it from the bowl.
The dough will feel soft and buttery and will look like shiny, stretchy taffy when it’s being pulled on the machine in a beach boardwalk storefront. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
Push the dough out of the pan and onto a very lightly floured surface. Knead it lightly 5 or 6 times to work some of the air out of it and then let it rest for 15 minutes. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 3 ounces each, if using a scale). Rebutter the springform pan.
Push each piece of dough into a small round boule by shaping it as follows. Make a tight C shape with one of your hands so that only about 1/2 inch of space remains open between your index finger and your thumb, and so your palm curves slightly into a cupped shape behind the outline of the C. Stuff one of the 12 pieces of dough through the middle of the C shape and into the palm of your hand behind it. Now, using all of the fingers of your free hand, push the dough back up through the “C” to create a smooth, round roll shape. Open your hand and pinch the bottom of the dough boule to close up the space where your fingers pushed upward. Put the boules into the springform as you finish them, repeating the process with all 12 pieces of dough.
Situate the rolls inside the springform so they fit snuggly next to one another. Start by setting 3 in the center and then arrange the remaining 9 around them along the perimeter of the pan. Cover the pan with the plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 12). After the refrigerator rise, let the rolls rest, still covered, at warm room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The rolls will puff up just slightly. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Beat the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush the egg wash across the tops of the rolls. Set the springform pan on a baking pan and transfer to the oven. Bake the rolls for 40 minutes, until the tops are dark brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 190° to 200°F when inserted into the center of a roll.
Let the bread cool in the pan to just warm, about 30 minutes. Release the springform and then separate the rolls by cutting them with a serrated knife along the visible dividing lines. Serve immediately.
Tip: Make the rolls 1 or 2 days in advance, cool completely and reheat, covered with foil, in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Tip: KitchenAid stand mixer users will note that once the machine is set to a speed of 5 or more, it will shimmy and shake . . . and move across the countertop as it works. Take care not to wander too far away and keep an eye on it if you are busy with other tasks during the kneading step, or you’ll be reminded when it crashes to the floor!
Pumpkin Cozy Rolls recipe from Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal by Tara Mataraza Desmond (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013). Photo by Ben Pieper Photography.
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